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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Walking the Saratoga Battlefield in Stillwater, New York

The site of the Battle of Saratoga,
Revolution is formally known as 

I walk a small portion of the battlefield with my son, Adam.  He and I love visiting historic sites and talking about the important events and the people who impacted America's history across our country.

The Visitor Center & Park Roads
are closed because of Covid 19

What led to the Battle at Saratoga, the Turning Point of the American RevolutionThe British created a plan to isolate the New England Colonies from the rest of the insurgent American Colonies and use New York as a base to attack the Mid Atlantic ColoniesGeneral John Burgoyne and General Sir William Howe were ordered to move their Armies to Albany, New York. General Burgoyne's Army moved south from Canada and General Howe was to move north from New Jersey, up the Hudson Valley.  Both Armies were to damage and destroy American property in an effort to demoralize the population as they moved toward each other.

General Howe and his Army were attacking American troops near New York City and in Pennsylvania in 1777.  The planned "Southern Army" did not march north to Albany.  Howe's troops attacked Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and occupied the City in September 1777, making him. and his Army unavailable for the Upstate New York Campaign.

Two battles here fought here.  The first battle was fought on September 19, 1777, at the Freeman Farm near Saratoga.  Momentum moved back and forth between the American and British Armies with no clear winner until General Burgoyne sent in German soldiers to support the faltering English lines.  That was enough to push back General Horatio Gate's troops.

The British Army lost 600 men in the one day battle.  It's estimated that American losses were about 300.  General Burgoyne waited and waited, and waited for British reinforcements that did not come. Supplies lines from Canada cut off by the Americans. British troops were struggling to maintain themselves and to cut off New England from the rest of the insurgent colonies.

General Burgoyne's next move sparked the second Battle of Saratoga at Bemis Heights, south of Saratoga.  (The portion of the battlefield that Adam & I walk today.)

This Cannon, at the American lines,
 overlooks the British advance on
 October 7, 1777.

In Memory of Unkown
Soldiers Reinterrred Here.
Dedicated September 19, 1987

This marker is near the Cannon,
behind the American lines.

British Brigadier General Simon
 Fraser died during the British
assault on the American lines
on October 7, 1777.

It is a gracious act to acknowledge the courage of the enemy's fallen commander.  

These photos were taken along the Wilkinson Trail...

Adam & I imagine the British
preparing to attack uphill.

perches on a dry twig.

Do you like butter?

Adam & I follow a paved

On October 7, 1777, British troops were sent to the left flank of the American lines, which was repulsed.  Burgoyne ordered his troops to retreat.  The attackers were surrounded by American troops.

The British hastily erected fortifications behind their forward position.

Breymann's Redoubt was 
overrun by Americans
commanded by
Major Benedict Arnold

These cannons are placed at Breymann's Redoubt and aimed at...

 ...the Americans at the top of the
 rise, & the Visitor Center

General Burgoyne restarted his retreat in the cold October rains, only to be harassed by Americans shooting at his troops as they withdrew north.  He surrendered to General Gates on October 17, 1777.

Following this decisive battle, France and America signed two treaties, The Treaty of Amity and Commerce that recognized America as an independent country and encouraged trade between the two nations.  The Treaty of Alliance aligned the two countries against Britain, allowing France to provide material support to the Americans.  

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